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Why We Rule the World, and How


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Humanities Lab.
If you have received your propaedeutic diploma within one academic year, your academic results are good and you are a very motivated student, you may apply for a place in the Humanities Lab.


Is the world that which presents itself to us as it is, or that which we create through the categories with which we apprehend it? Do we rule the world through our norms, categories, values, and practices? Are our norms, categories, values, and practices universal or particular? If they shape how and what we know, are they themselves knowable to us? We will explore these questions through an examination of concepts commonly associated with political economy; i.e. production, consumption, and exchange.

Course objectives

  • Familiarize students with different theoretical approaches within the humanities to categories and norms.

  • Introduce students to key problems concerning the concept of normativity, including questions about possible effects of virtualization, globalization, and digitalization.

  • Present students with a number of tools (case studies, thought-experiments, new concepts) for critical thinking.

  • Train students in applying insights from the Humanities to problems of topical interest in science and society.


Visit MyTimetable.

Courses of the Humanities Lab are scheduled on Friday afternoon from 13.30 to 17.00hrs.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar.

Assessment method


  • Active participation (20%)

  • Oral Presentation (40%)

  • Final Project (40%)


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the final assignment. Contact the course lecturer for more information.
Weekly attendance is mandatory.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursion). If you are unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control, notify the Humanities Lab coordinators in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence, and hand in your weekly assignment in writing to the lecturer (if applicable). Being absent without notification and valid reason may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.

Reading list

Will be made available later.


Students of the Humanities Lab will be registered in uSis by the administration of the Humanities Lab. More information about registration for courses will be provided by email and on Brightspace (in the general Humanities Lab Brightspace module).
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Lecturer: Dr. J.J.M. Sleutels
Humanities Lab office: e-mail


If all participants of this course are Dutch native speakers, this course will be taught in Dutch.

This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.
Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.